Truth in Advertising!?

Oxymoron is defined as a figure of speech that combines two normally contradictory terms.

Truth. Advertising.

Contradictory?!

Can't say that I'm finding much truth in the advertising I'm coming across lately, maybe I'm just skeptical.

Or, it could be that we talk to 1000's of contractors across the planet, and we hear "the other side".

Flipping through the pages of the most recent Construction Executive magazine (March 2009 Issue), I was drawn, obviously, to the construction software ads. I'm always amused by the claims, and the cut throat competition out there is getting nasty.

I wouldn't say any of these are our competitors. We are a niche software product, for small to mid sized contractors, with a particular focus on construction scheduling, file management (organization) and communications.

But the "big guys" are out for blood.

For instance...

Software A

  • states they're so far ahead of their competition, it's not even fair
  • claims they are the leader in construction management software since the early 80's (was there even software back then?! can't remember, perhaps the VIC-20 or Commodore 64)

Software B

  • warns you to "beware of imposters" - those that offer integrated construction solutions... but apparently don't in B's humble opinion 
  • claims if you use other software besides theirs, you'll be left dead in the water (ouch, this is serious business)

Software C

  • claims to be America's #1 construction accounting software (sorry Canada, and the rest of the world, we're only talking America here)
  • has a pretty picture of the CEO on practically every ad (still trying to figure that one out - I guess he's the guy that's writing huge checks for ad space... with your money!!)

So which of these software companies are telling the truth? And how on earth are you and I going to test any of their claims?

Personally, I have never knowingly spoken to any contractor that has used, or is using any of the aforementioned programs, so I'm not here throwing mud. But I do want to raise the issue of whether you and I are getting the truth in any of these ads (or any others we come across). Because, if we buy something based on a claim that ends up being untrue, well, how would you feel?!

A wise colleage said to me years ago... "The truth is good enough." He followed up with another maxim that "it's only true when it's true for you."

So now for the "truth" about BuildIT.

  • We're web based - nothing to install, nothing to maintain, no software headaches - period.
  • We're small - you call us, you'll speak to one of the owners of the company
  • We have extremely low overhead - your subscription goes to pay us - to build a better product - for you
  • We've been around since 2000, so in "Internet" years, we're old
  • We have never advertised in Construction Executive magazine
  • We generally don't do print advertising - most of our leads (including you most likely) come through the Internet from search
  • We're inexpensive, so you should see a return on investment within the first 30 - 60 days if you get lift off with the program

BuildIT has a great system that has helped many contractors over the years get control of their scheduling. It has helped them get more organized, and thus has been responsible for gaining efficiencies, building profits and avoiding costly mistakes, that if all added up... who knows what that number is. But I'll bet it's a big number collectively.

Recall the sage advice - if you think BuildIT is the best fit, test your claim, and see if it's true for you. Try BuildIT on a monthly basis, and if you don't see massive ROI in the short term, cut it loose... and you haven't sunk $1000's into some bloated software product that promised the world, and made some rather clever, if not misleading, claims.

Keep in mind, according to a recent article in Construction Executive, it's highly unlikely you'll use even 50% of a software product's capabilities... so why pay for the excess!? Determine what you need, what you're highest priorities (must-have's) are, and if they have anything to do with scheduling, file management, or improving communications within your team (and with those outside your organization), then there may be a good fit here with us.

(By the way, notice anything wrong with the compass graphic above!? - remember, "truth in advertising").

See you on the inside!

 Scott Hutchinson
 scott@builditsystems.com
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1

Top of the pack for Contractor Scheduling Software (says Google !!)

We like being on top.

It makes it easier for us to meet folks like you.

Since 2004, we've been showing up on the 1st page of Google, Yahoo and other search engines for keywords relating to construction scheduling.  Anyone using Google to find help with construction scheduling, will not only find us, but find us at or very near the top of the pack.

So what does this mean for you, the guy looking for a software solution?

Simply, we're the most relevant for your search and worth a look, if you're looking.

Our customers are contractors, regular business owners, artisans perhaps. Like you, they're looking for help. And all they need to run BuildIT is a computer with Internet access, and a desire to improve their scheduling, and business organization.

We're looking foward to meeting you... officially!  Raise your hand, let us know who you are, by clicking that big green button up there in the top right of the screen, and we'll see you on the inside.

 Scott Hutchinson
 scott@builditsystems.com
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1

The Swiss Army knife of construction software !?

I saw an ad in the January 2008 Construction Executive magazine for an estimating software company. The text read:

"He thought all-in-one software meant "all-is-well" software. He thought wrong."

And there's a picture of this frazzled guy in a suit going balistic. I love it, and I agree.

Made me think about the landscape of construction software options you are likely coming across in your research. And the opinions offered by the self-appointed professionals (read: sales guys that want to sell you their software) on what you should consider before buying software.

For most small to mid sized construction businesses, having one software system that does it all may sound good in theory, but it rarely works. Imagine a mechanic having one tool that does it all - I picture a Swiss Army knife type ratchet that weighs 100 LBS and does as many things.

So what about the Swiss Army knife of construction software? If it exists, it has to cover a lot of ground, end to end, all facets of your business. It will be comprehensive, complicated, and come at a high price. And for most construction pros we talk to, most of the time, it's overkill.

BuildIT is narrow in focus, by design. We saw the gap in construction software back in 2000 and how an Internet accessible system could span that gap. So we only focus in 3 main areas: scheduling, file management and communications.

We didn't see the need for more/better construction accounting software. Quickbooks (contractor edition) has been around for some time, and is used by the majority of construction pros that have connected with BuildIT. It's a "back office" system, done offline typically, and by a bookkeeper or consultant.

As for estimating software, we make recommendations but again, most are using a spreadsheet that they have developed... and we're not about to build a watered down version of Excel.

The gap - managing the details, the scheduling, the mountain of information that is created throughout the building process, information that needs to be stored, accessed, communicated/shared, and archived.

We also realized another thing... a printed schedule is out of date about an hour after it's printed. We knew that construction pros needed more than a pretty Gantt chart on a piece of paper. They need a real time scheduling system that keeps all key people on track, singing off the same song sheet. That is where BuildIT really shines. The system integrates your jobs with scheduling, contacts, and files... all project related information is in one place, stored securely, and accessible 24/7 by the folks that need to see it and act on it.

OK, if we're a Swiss Army knife, with 3 attachments, then we're somewhat manageable. Or you can buy construction software like the picture above and spend the next year or two trying to figure it out! Then again, it may be the right decision for your company (there's a buyer for every product out there).

 Scott Hutchinson
 scott@builditsystems.com
 1 866 585 5050 ext 1